Mavis Cheek, Author
Mavis Cheek, Author . St. Martin's $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-30782-0
Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002

Hunky younger lover or rich, supportive husband? That's the dilemma for Dilys Holmes, a 50-ish grandma finally indulging her long-suppressed wild streak in British novelist Cheek' s droll confection (following Mrs. Fytton's Country Life). Sobbing in a train station after the funeral of her best friend, Dilys comes down with a mad crush on scruffy, blue-eyed Matthew Todd, a sympathetic soul "at least ten years" her junior who lends her his shoulder. Compared with her husband, Francis, a successful lawyer and devoted mate for 30 years (with only one much-lamented lapse), Matthew seems little more than "a bit of fresh trouser." But he is passionate, attentive, and spontaneous, making adultery "as inevitable as a sneeze after pepper—and just as uncontrollable." Unwilling to abandon her marriage just yet, Dilys weaves an ever-expanding web of deceit, which includes "visits" to an elderly aunt who one day actually resurfaces to teach Dilys about the family's long history of adulterous shenanigans. Cheek muddles the tone of this farce by turning Matthew into a cold-eyed stalker whose creepy mood-shifts Dilys inexplicably finds endearing. Nevertheless, readers will continue turning the pages to keep company with Dilys, a consistently charming and diverting (if sometimes obtuse) confidante. (Nov. 1)

The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!